Monday, 24 March 2014

Home First – A Patient-Centered Approach to Continuous Care

Health care provider comforts patient in home setting
Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare embraces the home first philosophy and the ability for patients to receive continuous care in the comfort of their home.
Home – it’s a familiar place of comfort, warmth and security filled with memories and personal belongings. Just thinking about it soothes the soul and makes us feel better when we are unwell. So creating a concept where patients continue to recover at home with support services in place, after they are well enough to leave the hospital, is a patient-centered approach to providing continuous care. It’s why we at Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare support the home first philosophy – a component of the government’s Aging at Home Strategy and a significant shift in health care thinking to transition patients from hospital to home more quickly.

Often times, seniors are waiting in hospitals no longer needing acute care services and potentially moving to long-term care homes with health care needs that could be safely met in the comfort of their own homes with proper support. Hospitals are a place to receive acute care and to support you through serious, complex health concerns. When you are ill or injured, MAHC is here to provide you with safe, excellent care as long as you need it. Our goal is to get you well enough, and make sure in partnership with the Community Care Access Centre you have the right supports, to help you get back home where you are more comfortable and will recover more quickly in familiar surroundings, with the support of family and friends and away from diseases and other risk factors. 

At MAHC, we are committed to ensuring that patients, and especially seniors, receive the right care in the right place at the right time. In partnership with physicians, nurses and community health agencies such as the North Simcoe Muskoka CCAC, we are supporting patients and their caregivers in making informed decisions about their care. We want to help them understand why choosing home first may be the best option.

Why Home First? It’s simple. When given a choice, most seniors prefer to be at home than in a hospital. Outcomes are better when patients recuperate at home with appropriate supports, away from the inherent risks of hospitals, including risk of infection, pressure ulcers, falls and isolation. Once a patient’s acute health needs have been met in hospital, home is the best place for them to recover.

There are many good reasons to go home to recover: the familiar surroundings and overall comfort of your own home, being able to set your own schedule and make your own meals, sleep in your own bed and maintain the independence of doing more things for yourself in a normalized routine. Our community also benefits from your decision to choose home first. Our hospitals need to have beds available for patients with serious health concerns and having beds available will mean shorter wait times in our emergency rooms.

If you are admitted to hospital, planning for discharge is discussed from the beginning. The health care team works with you and your family to discuss what services are needed to support a transition back to home. The services are coordinated and referrals to community
health agencies are made. Once at home, patients and their families can discuss long-term options and make decisions about any ongoing care needs.

We recognize that home first is not for every patient depending on their individual medical needs and physical capabilities. Our priority is our patient’s acute care needs and we are excited to embrace the home first philosophy and provide our patients with continuous care in the comfort of their home.

Watch a patient testimonial from the North Simcoe Muskoka CCAC or find out more at